Pulsating athleticism: Diverse skill set allows MCM’s Pulse to excel in multiple events
SALEM—There isn't much Jacy Pulse cannot do.
In 2015, she burst onto the prep track and field scene by winning the Class A girls 400-meter dash as a seventh-grader in 59.03 seconds. Throughout her career, Pulse has placed 10 times in five events at the state meet, including racing to a state championship in the 300 hurdles last season in 44.96 seconds.
This year, the McCook Central/Montrose junior has already qualified for the state meet in six events—the 100, 200, 400, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and the high jump—and her versatility leaves her with unlimited possibilities on the track.
"She's so versatile that we can do so many things with her talents," MCM head coach Jack Rasmussen said. "If we want to run a relay and qualify, we can plug her in. This year, we have so many top-quality sprinters that we're just focusing on her individual events."
After placing in the top-four in the 400 during her first three seasons, Pulse could have opted to continue to focus on the event, but she desired something more.
Pulse found more moderate success in the 100 hurdles—placing better than sixth once in four tries at the state meet—but she enjoyed the event.
With her talents focused on the sprints during her first four seasons, the 300 hurdles were an event she never truly had a chance to try it. But last season, she found that it blended her love of the hurdles and skill in the 400.
It has been a strong combination ever since and her time of 44.58 seconds at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays is the best in Class A by 2.14 seconds and was 0.24 seconds away from beating Rapid City Stevens' four-time Class AA champion Elizabeth Schaefer.
"I always knew that I liked the 100 hurdles and I knew that the 400 and 300 hurdles were similar," Pulse said. "But I never really got around to trying them until my sophomore year. Last year, I pretty much switched over and I really enjoy them. I like running them a lot better."
Since athletes can only compete in four events per meet, strategy enters into which events Pulse is slotted into for a meet. The spacing of the events often dictates the strategy, particularly with the 300 hurdles and 400 frequently falling within close proximity.
Her versatility also allows flexibility for MCM, which led to entering the high jump at the Fighting Cougar Invitational on April 9 for the first time. She leaped a state-qualifying 4 feet, 6 inches and feels she could excel if time permitted her to learn the proper technique.
"She can be thrown into relays or individual (events)—she's only getting better, which is kind of scary," MCM assistant Doug Durfee said. "Her times are still coming down. She's running the best this year that she's ever ran. It'll be fun to see what she does next season and into her college career."
Pulse is primed to take another run at a state championship, but she also has another year left in her high school career. The same athleticism that paved the way for a switch from 400 state champion to 300 hurdle champion has also allowed options in her sports career.
Colleges have already contacted Pulse about playing basketball at the next level, as well as track and field. She has also been a key contributor for MCM's run to the state volleyball tournament the past two seasons.
"I'm going to probably major in nursing, but I haven't made a decision yet," Pulse said. "I have a smaller schools (interested) for basketball or track—I haven't made any decisions."